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Bellaire Local School District to Receive First Shared Services Feasibility Study
Efficiency-Boosting Studies are Outgrowth of House Bill 5
Columbus – Auditor of State Dave Yost today approved the Bellaire Local School District (Belmont County) to receive the first shared services feasibility study conducted by his office.
The voluntary studies, performed by the Auditor’s Ohio Performance Team (OPT), measure the potential benefits of collaboration between neighboring governments before they commit valuable time and resources.
At the request of the Bellaire Local School District, the first study will research the possible cost savings and efficiency improvements that could result from sharing school bus facilities and maintenance resources with four partnering school districts in Belmont County:
- Bridgeport Exempted Village School District
- Martins Ferry City School District
- Shadyside Local School District
- St. Clairsville-Richland City School District
Two Educational Service Centers, East Central Ohio ESC (Tuscarawas County) and Muskingum Valley ESC (Muskingum County), would also participate to help facilitate the project.
“There’s a significant potential for savings and improvements from seven governments joining forces,” Auditor Yost said. “I’m eager to see the results of what I’m sure will be the first of many feasibility studies across the state.”
“We are constantly looking at ways to improve our efficiency and operations, and this is one more way to do that,” said Bellaire Local Schools Superintendent Darren Jenkins.
“MVESC is pleased to be a participant in this study conducted by the Ohio Performance Team,” said David Branch, superintendent of the Muskingum Valley ESC.“We believe the study outcomes will complement our ongoing shared service initiatives focused on school transportation. Anytime we can partner with others across the state to analyze efficiencies that prevent dollars from going out the tailpipes of buses, we are happy to do so.”
As a result of House Bill 5, enacted on Sept. 14, 2016, local governments and state agencies can apply for the studies through the Auditor’s office. Unlike financial audits, the studies are completely voluntary, and entities can choose to opt out if they are included in another government’s application.
After an entity is selected, OPT conducts the study and, upon its conclusion, holds a public meeting to discuss the findings. The participating governments may choose whether or not to follow through with the recommendations.
The full costs of the studies are covered by a grant program established by HB 5 and funded by the Auditor’s Leverage for Efficiency, Accountability and Performance (LEAP) Fund. The grant amounts vary depending on the scope of the studies.
Local governments interested in applying for a feasibility study from the Auditor’s office can call 614-387-6295 or email Performance@ohioauditor.gov.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.